Johor Ruler to attend Thaipusam celebrations in Skudai

JOHOR BARU: Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar will attend the state-level Thaipusam celebrations at Arulmigu Sri Balasubramaniar temple in Skudai here.

It is learnt that this would be His Majesty's first visit to the temple to witness the Thaipusam celebrations, which will be held this Sunday (Feb 5).

This would also be the first time in three years following the Covid-19 pandemic that Sultan Ibrahim will attend Thaipusam celebrations.

The last time His Majesty attended the celebrations was in 2019 at Arulmigu Thendayuthapani temple in Wadi Hana here.

Sri Balasubramaniar temple chairman Datuk S. Balakrishnan confirmed Sultan Ibrahim’s attendance at the Thaipusam celebrations.

"His Majesty will be coming to the temple to witness the celebrations at 11am this Sunday. Other state leaders will also be joining Sultan Ibrahim including Mentri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi.

"About 10,000 devotees will be present during the celebrations, which will be held in a grand manner following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions," he said when contacted on Friday (Feb 3).

On Thursday (Feb 2), state Islamic religious affairs committee chairman Mohd Fared Mohd Khalid said Muslims in Johor were allowed to attend celebrations held by people of other faiths, but should not take part in their religious rituals.

Citing open houses, weddings and funerals as examples, he said Muslims were permitted to attend such events if they were invited.

This was based on the opinions of a number of Muslim scholars who stated that the law of accepting invitations to non-Muslim celebrations, such as open houses, was both necessary and permissible.

"In this context, organisers of non-Muslim celebrations should be sensitive and ensure the sensitivity of Muslims is respected in line with Islam’s position as the federal religion and the official religion of Johor," he said at a press conference pertaining to the fatwa.

He said the Johor Ruler had consented to the fatwa, which forbids Muslims in the state from taking part in the rituals of other faiths.

"Under the fatwa, Muslims have been banned and prohibited from participating in non-Islamic celebration rituals, which include those performed in religious houses of worship or other places.

"However, Muslims are allowed to fulfil invitations to a non-Islamic celebration but should not be involved in any ritual ceremony related to the practice of other faiths," he added.

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